War of 1812

THE STARS and stripes were raised Monday in the the immediate Eastern Ohio area and elsewhere, but this didn’t involve flags with 50 stars.

With flags having 15 stars and 15 stripes, Ohioans and others through the nation Monday were marking the 200th anniversary of the declaration of war for the War of 1812.

The Governor’s War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission enlisted help from officials in all 88 counties to draw attention to this important time in the nation’s history and Ohio’s involvement in the three-year conflict.

ONE of most memorable reports related to United States’ naval history stems from that war.

It was Master Commandant Oliver Hazard Perry’s dispatch to Major Gen. William Henry Harrison when he reported, “We have met the enemy and they are ours – two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop.”

Perry’s dispatch resulted from his victory over the British during the Battle of Lake Erie off the coast of Ohio in 1813. The victory opened up the Great Lakes region and land west of Ohio for settlers.

Harrison himself was saluted as a hero of the War of 1812. After the Battle of Lake Erie, he commanded the forces that defeated the British and American Indians, including Tecumseh, at the Battle of the Thames near Chatham, Ontario. The war in the Lake Erie area then effectively ended.

Incidentally, Harrison County takes its name from that illustrious officer who was the first U.S. president to have lived in Ohio.

Harrison isn’t the only hero associated with that war and East Ohio even though the 1813 event occurred elsewhere. Johnny Appleseed, who planted apples in area counties, reportedly ran approximately 30 miles from Mansfield to Mount Vernon to warn about American Indian massacres and to obtain reinforcements. Some report that he rode a horse.

ANOTHER event during that war occurred in the Battle of Fort McHenry when Francis Scott Key was inspired because the flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes was still flying.

His memorable words are that the “rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”